Food for ThoughtJune 2023
“There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.”
Mandela Day is just around the corner. It’s a great time to get involved! This important day centers around YOU donating 67 minutes of your time to make a difference. We are focusing on our food needs in 2023 – a quick and impactful way to get involved.
Help Kids Haven collect as many food cans to feed as many people as possible in our community projects and in our Children’s home.
Build your very own food can pyramid from any of the most-needed tins we use every day. Your pyramid can be filled with cans of tomatoes, baked beans, lentils, pilchards, fruit, and jam. You may even be able to build your pyramid using plastic pots of peanut butter, jam, and hot chocolate for a winter treat. We will use it all to supplement the meals at Kids Haven and share with families.
So, get your company, school, friends and family involved. Take a pic of your pyramid by 18 July, post it on Kids Haven’s Facebook page and stand the chance of being crowned the Mandela Pyramid Champs for 2023. You can drop off your cans at Kids Haven donation centre in Bryanston or at the children’s home in Benoni.
Get collecting! Chat to email@example.com if you would like to find out more.
Food gardens fill empty tummies
590 home-based food gardens are growing in communities in Marikana KwaThema, Windmill Park, Chris Hani, Petit, Mayfield, Msholozi, Barcelona, Nigel, and here in Benoni thanks to the efforts of Kids Haven’s food garden initiative. With at least 4 people in every family, the food gardens are reaching 2 300 adults and children.
- · 60% of growers grow for their own use
- · 21% of growers grow for themselves and share with others
- · 19% of growers sell excess produce
- · One community has created its own soup kitchen by sharing their vegetables
· 75% are run by women.
“Communities need fresh, healthy vegetables to bulk up their meals and make them s t r e t c h even further to save costs. This is the main driver behind the food gardens. Our aim is to keep the current gardens going, and to continue educating communities on good nutrition,” says Leonard Ngobene, programme coordinator. “We incorporate short workshops on nutrition, finance, and hygiene with all the growers, along with basic information on growing vegetables. It is great to see families having enough to eat and shifting their eating habits and including healthier food now.”
- Ways to help:
- Seedlings kickstart a garden – can you grow us some vegetable seedlings to distribute to the growers. Kids can earn community hours for their efforts.
Donate specifically to buy seeds for growers – it costs R81 to buy three big packets of tomato, onion, and spinach seeds at the local Benoni Mica. Make your donation online here and we will buy these seed packs.
- Check in your garden shed if you have any shade cloth, netting or frost protectors that you no longer need. All our growers need to keep birds out, bad weather at bay and protection from frost. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
- Contact us if you would like to support the food gardens with a more substantial donation. We have a model of local garden champions who support and encourage 25 gardeners in their community. Chat to Susan at email@example.com .
Kids and food – why nutrition matters
The sad reality is that many kids new to Kids Haven’s home, either hide food or eat AND EAT like it’s their last meal. They simply can’t believe that there is enough food, and they will be fed regularly. It’s very typical new child behaviour. Most recently, we admitted children whose mother did not spend much time at home and would leave the children locked in the home. Neighbours realised that they were not eating regularly and were being neglected. They called us to intervene. These children, like others before them, are wide eyed by the meals we serve at every mealtime. On a recent volunteer day, one little girl was so excited to be tasting BRAAI for the very first time, “Is this braai for us aunty?” She had never seen or smelled something quite so delicious! Her first boerewors roll!
Our saddest moment though, was watching a young teen who had been involved in illegal mining eat his way through sixteen peanut butter sandwiches without stopping. We had seen that he was struggling to process meals and food, always wanting more at every meal. We wondered if he would self-regulate once he felt full. Sixteen two-slice sandwiches later, and we had to let him know that we thought he could be full. His was an extreme case showing how severe the impact can be of irregular meals and not having enough to eat.” Esther Mahlangu, centre manager.
The meals we serve at Kids Haven are not fancy, but they are nutritious and well balanced. We always serve a starch like mielie meal, or rice and less frequently pasta. We always include fresh and seasonal vegetables, sometimes the whole meal may be vegetarian. We have two meat-meals a week but supplement protein with soya and serve tinned fish. We follow a menu and prepare all the food freshly in our big kitchen under the watchful eye of Mum Thuli. We try to accommodate children who really don’t like something but mostly everyone eats the food as served, having enough to eat whether they are three or eighteen. We are grateful to our local Woolworths store for their weekly donation to supplement our food.
How you can get involved
Donate any of our most-used grocery items like mielie meal, rice, tinned fish, beans and lentils, soya mince and tea.
- Make up a meal-in-a-bag – a nutritious mix of equal quantities of lentils, rice, macaroni with an opened soup packet and a stock cube. We give these meals to our girls in the GBV programme from the Alra Park community, and to our preschool families and some food gardeners. These are great, healthy options to improve overall nutrition. Kids can earn one community hour for every set of three meal packs that they make.
Host a food drive for our sandwich fillings – we can never have enough peanut butter and jam
Khethiwe Zwane-Mnyanda joined the Kids Haven fundraising team three months ago. We took a moment to chat to her about her experience so far…
What made you interested in joining Kids Haven? What did you think Kids Haven was all about? Did you discover something different once you arrived?
I had known about Kids Haven for many years. I went with a friend to the Kids Haven village for a visit many years ago. She was doing her community service with Kids Haven, and I was a bit jealous because as a boarding school student I couldn’t volunteer on an ongoing basis. Since then, the name Kids Haven kept popping up and I would always hear great things about how the organisation helps kids. As an educator and now mother, the opportunity to work with a large NPO that has a great reputation within the community where we live was very exciting to me.
I knew about the Incare aspect of Kids Haven and the charity shops. When I arrived, I realised that it is a huge organisation with three pillars of care, not just one, with many programmes not just for children, but also those that empower all members of the family within various communities.
- What has made you the happiest in the past three months?
It’s so exciting to work with people who are so passionate about what they do, particularly caring for children. My favourite moment so far was watching the Youth Hub participants present their business ideas, which they developed in groups during the Socionext programme. They presented their ideas to a panel of business and corporate stakeholders and the response was so empowering. The representatives were so genuinely excited about their ideas that they were placing orders or giving them advice on how to navigate getting serious business. I saw how excited the youth was about their ideas, but seeing the reps respond so positively just gave me so much hope. I have to mention the special visit by the Easter Bunny to the little ones at the village too. The sheer shrieks of joy always warm the heart.
- What top three ways do you think people can get involved in Kids Haven?
The easiest way to get involved would be to visit the charity shops. You will see all the kinds of items we collect to resell. For students, send us an email and see what you can do to earn community service hours. For adults who want to volunteer, Teen Hub is an exciting way you can spend your time. Teach them how to play the piano, help with homework or even just listen to them tell you about their favourite books.
These are Khethiwe’s ideas to make a difference:
- Charity Shop – donate your second hand clothes, toys, books or household goods. Drop off in Bryanston or Benoni – You can find all our addresses here
- Community Hours – Here are our ideas.
- Volunteer in-person tutors – do you have time in the afternoons between 2:30 and 4:30 and are you in the Benoni area? We need tutors in all subjects, especially English and Maths. We also welcome tutors who share skills in other languages, or cultural activities like art or music. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with Khethiwe.
Anyone for a BELLY-laugh?
Don’t forget our upcoming event on 13 July 2023 – we have a few tickets left….Contact email@example.com to book.
You can get involved by volunteering, donating money or second hand goods.
If you think your company could help make a difference please contact us.